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Parenting Tips: Reflections on Mary

Parenting Tips
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Adoption Coaching & Training (ACT)
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“…taking hold of the hope set before us…” – Hebrews 6:18 

Christmas nativity scene

Reflections on Mary

Becoming a parent can make you sentimental.  I was at a post-adoption visit the other day with a woman who became a mother through adoption this year.  This is her first child, and we talked about the excitement of the upcoming Christmas holiday and the joy of celebrating Christmas with her new child.  Everything about Christmas is viewed differently when seen through the eyes of a child.

My client shared with me that this season she has been particularly drawn to think about Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Now that she is a mother, she sees Mary in a whole new light and contemplates her story in a whole new way.  My client’s comment brought me to scripture, to the gospel of Luke especially, to look again at Mary—her character, her faith and her integral role in bringing our Lord and Savior to Earth as a human infant.

Most scholars believe that Mary was young – probably in her mid-teens – when she became pregnant with Jesus.  Poor, unmarried, and betrothed to Joseph, she receives the news from the angel that she is highly favored; so highly favored that God has chosen her to be the vessel for His son.  It is hard for us in our modern day to comprehend how devastating the news could have been to Mary.  What went through her head, and her heart, when she hears this news?  In the culture of her time, she could have been stoned to death, or at the very least shunned by her community, to be in her condition.  Instead, she replies, “I am the Lord’s servant,” showing herself, even at a young age, to be a woman of great wisdom and depth.

Months pass.  Mary’s belly grows large.  Very late in her pregnancy, she accompanies Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a journey of 80 miles that given Mary’s condition, could have taken anywhere from 4 to 7 days.  I can’t imagine what that journey would have been like.  Soon after arriving, she gives birth, possibly in a stable with the animals, wrapping Jesus in strips of cloth and laying Him in a manger.  Most nativity scenes depict a manger as a cradle, but in reality, it is a trough for feeding the animals, and probably pretty dirty and smelly.  What a way for the Messiah to begin His life!
Then the fireworks begin.  An angel of the Lord appears to some shepherds minding their sheep nearby.  The angel proclaims the birth and then is accompanied by a multitude of other angels praising God.  The shepherds are first frightened, then astonished.  They decide to go see these miraculous events for themselves, so they rush to Bethlehem to find Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.  Scripture says after they saw the baby, they told everyone about it, and what a scene this must have been!  But Mary was the calm in the midst of this storm.  It’s one of my favorite passages in the Bible: “And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The story of Jesus’ birth in Luke is the most we hear of Mary.  We see glimpses of her through the rest of Jesus’s life, searching frantically for him when he goes missing on their journey home from the temple in Jerusalem, celebrating with him at the wedding at Cana (where Jesus turns water into wine), and watching as her son is crucified on a cross for crimes he did not commit.  The last time we see her is in Acts chapter one when she was with the apostles on the day of Pentecost.  So little is known about such an important and inspirational woman.

This blog post is supposed to be a parenting tip, so what, exactly, is the nugget of parenting wisdom to be shared?  Here it is: this holiday season, let the story of the nativity wash over you in a new way.  Think about Mary – her joy, her heartbreak, her obedience to God’s will, and her total trust in His goodness.  Treasure these things and ponder them in your heart.  On this day our Lord and Savior was born; Praise God for the gift of His precious son!

Diane Hood, America World AdoptionThis article was written by Diane Hood, Clinical Supervisor with America World Adoption, and the Director of Social Services in our Georgia office.  Diane has more than 20 years experience in the adoption field and she is a parent by birth and by adoption.  

ACT (Adoption Coaching and Training) is a ministry of America World Adoption designed to support families through training, support groups, and individualized coaching.  Explore ACT services on our website here, and reach out to us today for a free consultation to make a plan to meet your needs.

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